Flying home: Local pilot living his dream

Windsor is home base for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds this weekend, and it’s a special landing spot for one of its pilots.

Since a young age, Bassam Mnaymneh has always wanted to be a pilot.

“As a child, going to airshows in Windsor, I’d see Snowbirds and fighter jets and airplanes fly over I always wanted to be a military pilot,” he says.

After graduating from Vincent Massey Secondary, he attended The Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

“I ended up flying helicopters in Victoria British Columbia and then moved to Moose Jaw,” Mnaymneh says.

The 43-year-old is now a pilot for Snowbird 5, which flies in the back of the formation.

“So I was able to focus my attention on being a military pilot. The snowbirds is the cherry on top,” he says.

The Snowbirds signature nine-jet precision formation will be featured at an air show in Ypsilanti, Michigan this weekend.

They’re using Windsor as a platform for take-off and landing.

“It’s just great to come home and see my family from a distance and just to say hello,” says Mnaymneh.

The show is divided into three parts.

First an opener with nine planes flying in formation together doing loops and roles.

“Then we split and do integrated so it’s a series of passes. We have our solo pilots who do crosses,” Mnaymneh says.

And then a finale.

“Sit in your backyard or front yard have a look up and say hello from there and that would be awesome,” he says.

Mnaymneh says residents will be able to see the Snowbirds in the air around 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.